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Net-Zero Task Force Meeting Minutes 13th July

Net Zero Task Force Draft Minutes 13th July 2020. Download a PDF copy of the minutes here.


Patrick Devine-Wright (Chair)
Kerry Hayes
Gill Westcott
Harry Bonnell
Nik Bowyer
James Shorten
Ian Hutchcroft
Tim Jones
Ellie Rowlands
Emily Reed
Doug Eltham
Laura Cardenas
Lyndis Cole
Iain Stewart
Cornelia Guell
Sue Goodfellow


Hannah Lawrie
Ian Bailey

1. Minutes of the Previous Meeting

It was AGREED that the minutes are a true record of the discussion.

Outstanding actions carried over from the May Task Force meeting:

ACTION: Tim Jones to clarify his thoughts on developing an asset register and let Emily know. 

ACTION: Nik to arrange to meet with James and Lyndis to discuss the spatial framework further. 

ACTION: Tim to share information about his exploration of the barriers and opportunities relating to the ownership of assets in the National Parks, in relation to natural capital restoration and preservation, and financial mechanisms to support this. 

ACTION: Tim to put the Task Force in contact with GWR & Stagecoach project to trial using hydrogen to fuel public transport in the South West. 

ACTION: Emily to report back on the data sets available to aid characterizing Devon.

2. Questions and comments on the Net Zero Task Force Progress Report

ACTION: Emily to update links on the final page of the Progress Report

Spatial Planning

Patrick asked about context of the Exmouth peaking-plant decision. James advised that it highlights some of the current weakness of the planning systems that require revision. A conversation with the Devon Planning Officers’ Group is scheduled with James for 15th July to get their input on how the Devon Carbon Plan can encourage the shift to net-zero.

Ian Hutchcroft asked for the draft actions in the Plan about encouraging net-zero new build to be shared with the Planners at the meeting too.

Tim noted that recent announcements of government on the national insulation programme, the anticipated White Paper on revisions to the planning system and the publication of the Greater Exeter housing strategy are all relevant here. Tim offered to synthesise with Ian and James.

Patrick asked for consideration to be given to how the citizens’ assembly might be used to work through some of these issues

3. Sharing draft actions with partners

The meetings with partners are continuing until the end of July which is an extended time period due to demands of the COVID response period. This is linked to item 4a below.

There has been a range of perspectives on many of the actions.

ACTION: Feedback to Team Devon that agroforestry could be an opportunity for inclusion in the COVID recovery plan.

4. Preparing the draft Carbon Plan

A) Timetable for drafting the Plan

Emily introduced the proposal for a three-month extension to the drafting of the Interim Devon Carbon Plan.

Patrick said that he thought the timetable looked reasonable but noted that this revision asks a lot more time of Task Force members.

Nik asked if there were particular concerns about certain actions. Emily confirmed there are, and that feedback will be gathered from all partners before amending actions and then those will be shared with the Task Force sub-groups. Nik confirmed that he thought the timetable was reasonable.

Patrick asked for a document showing when the Task Force when will be needed to be around.

ACTION: Doug to draft a document showing when the Task Force will be around.

Harry asked what format the consultation will take. Emily confirmed that this has yet to be designed in detail but will largely be online. Harry offered Devon Communities Together assistance in the consultation.

B) How to decide on a final date to achieve a net-zero Devon

The Task Force discussed the evidence available to inform the earliest credible date for Devon to decarbonise. This discussion will continue over the coming months.

C) Critical Path Diagrams

The Task Force supports the work that Andrew Rowson is doing.

Patrick cautioned that the actions need to be refined before Andrew spends too long on these. Doug agreed and advised that time has been scheduled within the revised timetable for Andrew to produce final drafts after the conversations have occurred with the sub-theme leads to refine the final actions.

Patrick asked how cross-cutting actions will be captured? Emily advised that Andrew will draft the critical pathway diagrams initially by sector, but will then integrate them to capture inter-relations and cross cutting actions. Patrick agreed with this.

5. Communications update

Ellie advised the Task Force that work on the new website is continuing that will be used to communicate the Interim Carbon Plan. The contractor’s illustration team are helping put together visuals on what a net-zero Devon might look like. In tandem with this, we are running a photo competition for images of what a net-zero Devon could look like, and these will be used on the website.

Social media engagement continues to increase. The newsletter is now being distributed to 1300 people each month and engagement is strong.

At the last meeting we spoke about the process of communicating the Interim Plan, such as webinars and videos with Task Force members. These will now be pushed back a couple of months due to the timetable delay. In the meantime, we need to make sure communities are aware of the projects that are ongoing across Devon by the partners to reduce carbon emissions, which the Tactical Group are helping collate.

Patrick asked for critical weeks to be planned in people’s diaries.

ACTION: Secretariat team to advise Task Force members on dates for communications activity for which they’ll need to be involved.

Tim asked if we’re sure that the existing engagement plan for the Interim Plan is sufficient – we can always do more. There’s a difference between communicating and getting ownership.

Patrick suggested a webinar between the Response Group and the Task Force could be helpful in October/November time.

ACTION: Ellie to incorporate a webinar between the Response Group and the Task Force into the communications plan.

ACTION: Ellie to confirm a list of stakeholder groups to engage in the consultation and begin to connect with the relevant networks.

Tim suggested we develop a local champion/ ambassador network to promote, support and organise activity around the Devon Carbon Plan at community level. Patrick supported this and said that we could approach the people who submitted evidence and in other relevant networks, such as the Devon Community Energy Network.

Harry suggested that Careers South West’s STEM programme that engages in schools could be helpful ambassadors. Harry has contacts available.

Sue advised that Devon Wildlife Trust have about 35,000 members and will be valuable. Ellie confirmed that the Trust’s communication’s team is involved.

ACTION: Ellie to consider what a Devon Carbon Plan ambassador network would involve and its feasibility.

6. AOB

  • A) James indicated an approach to engaging with Planning:
    • What’s possible now
    • What’s possible with further local action
    • What’s possible working with national government
  • The Task Force agreed with this approach.
  • B) Tim reminded the Task Force that we need to consider funding. Emily noted that we’ll be tagging each action in the Plan with its funding status. Doug suggested a ‘funding opportunities’ section in the Plan, which Tim agreed with and offered assistance to compile this.
    • ACTION: Secretariat to add a funding opportunities section to the Plan.
    • ACTION: Secretariat to add a funding opportunities section to the Plan.
  • Lyndis offered further advice on landscape character – it has never been designed to be a constraint on change. Emily agreed that this has been an issue of considerable feedback from the Partners.
    • ACTION: Emily to catch up with Lyndis about landscape considerations.
  • Gill updated the Task Force on her concerns about carbon offsetting and double counting, which need further discussion, particularly in which sectors the Devon Carbon Plan will encourage offsetting. Sue also raised the issue of who owns the carbon reduction. Laura said that her understanding of the IPCC rules means that double-counting shouldn’t happen.
    • ACTION: Secretariat to commission a short discussion paper about carbon offsetting before the next Task Force meeting to inform debate. Gill would like to be involved with this.
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